Bourbon-bacon pulled pork grilled cheese: the name of your new favourite indulgence. If I could dream up the perfect sandwich for summer days, this would definitely be it, and that’s all thanks to Olly’s pulled pork.
Forgive me for being basic; I’m well aware that barbeque sauce and pulled pork is overdone, but there is a reason why – it’s literally a match made in heaven. I decided to take the sacred duo and amp it up a notch by adding bourbon and bacon-bits to the barbeque sauce and two types of melty, tangy cheese all wedged between slices of thick, fresh rye bread. I’m not exaggerating when I say how good this pulled pork is – just as tender and flavourful as if you waited in front of the crockpot for eight hours yourself. Just defrost, pull and sauté before mixing it up with the barbeque sauce and you’re good to go.
This barbeque sauce recipe is a variation of a much-loved favourite in my house – the addition of vinegar is a tribute to the California-style barbeque sauce, which uses more vinegar to give a lovely acidic tang, which is much-needed to cut through the rich bacon and pork flavours. This barbeque sauce is an easy make-ahead component, which can be doubled up and cooked in large batches to be saved for whenever you need it in a pinch, so I really recommend making your own when you have the time! Everything is put in one pot and left to work its’ magic; minimum hassle with maximum results.
If you’re really in a hurry though, your favourite store-bought barbeque sauce will work just as well. As for the cheese varieties, as soon as I came up with the idea of a twist on a classic grilled cheese I immediately started doing my research on the best cheese varieties for the job. After much consideration, I settled on a mix of gruyere – the classic choice for a gooey grilled cheese, and white cheddar – slightly less melty but with a lovely tang, to create the perfect balance. The beauty of a grilled cheese is its flexibility, however; feel free to add as many types and combinations of cheeses as you like to find your favourite! In any case, to ensure maximum melt on your cheese, I recommend grating it beforehand so it takes less time and heat to break down.
My choice of rye bread might seem unorthodox when Maltese bread is so abundant, but you really have to try it to see how amazing it is in this dish! Rye bread is a bit sourer and has a more prominent, savoury flavour than white bread, allowing it to stand up to all the strong, rich flavours within the sandwich, not to mention it develops a crust beautifully when pan-grilled. If you’re not a fan of rye bread’ particular taste, you could try a sourdough, or a whole Maltese loaf hand-sliced into thick pieces. The secret to every stellar grilled cheese is a generous slather of good-quality butter on the outside of both sides of the sandwich before toasting – without this, none of that crunchy, buttery crust will form and you’ll be left with a soggy, fairly disappointing sandwich.
- 2 servings Olly’s pulled pork
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4 thick slices rye bread
- good quality butter
- ½ cup gruyere, shredded
- ½ cup cheddar, shredded
- ¼ cup bacon, diced finely
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- black pepper
- Defrost two packets of Olly’s pulled pork overnight in the fridge.
- Heat up a saucepan over medium-low heat and sauté the bacon bits until crispy. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat and add pulled pork. Saute for 5 minutes, until heated through, then add in the barbeque sauce. Mix together and set aside.
- Heat a cast-iron, or other heavy-bottomed, flat pan over medium-high heat. Generously spread butter over all sides of each slice of bread, then top two slices with a spoonful of pulled pork, ¼ cup of gruyere and a ¼ of white cheddar each. Top both with the remaining pieces of bread and transfer to the griddle.
- Grill each side for 4-5 minutes, until a golden crust has formed and the cheese starts to ooze when pressed. Cut in half and serve piping hot.
This recipe is the perfect addition to a lazy day by the pool with friends, and a nice cold beer in hand.